Legal

Thu, 29 Nov, 2018Basmah Qazi

Centrelink's latest crackdown on welfare payments

Centrelink's latest crackdown on welfare payments

The Labor Party has faced intense scrutiny after supporting a proposition that will see migrants unable to claim welfare payments for up to four years.

The new rule states that migrants who receive a permanent skilled or family visa from January 1 next year will have to wait four years before applying for welfare such as Newstart or concession cards.

Also affected are carer payments and parental leave pay which comes with a one year wait time, and dad and partner pay which will see an increase to two years.

Migrant families who have a single parent or sole earner will not be affected.

But the Greens slammed the notion as senator Nick McKim claimed that Labor was opening doors for poverty, misery and homelessness. McKim went on to label the rule as “Trump-esque”.

“It’s a Trump-esque punishment of migrants in this country that Labor has stitched up with the Liberal Party, so they can get a few budget savings in before they take government next year,” said Senator McKim.

But Labor Senator also responded with harsh words, saying that the bill was discussed with the opposition and thought through before a decision was formed and that the Greens would not be held accountable since they will never form a government.

“Common sense and the Greens don’t go together – should never be in the same sentence,” said Senator Cameron.

The legislation could have been blocked if the Labor party stood with the Greens, as independents Tim Storer, Derryn Hinch and Centre Alliance’s two senators also opposed the bill.

But Labor believes they have made the right decision, as with them lending support to the controversial bill, it has taken the “rough edges” off and stopped Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party to negotiate further.

After Labor stepped in to negotiate, the government agreed to reduce the waiting times for many payments, after initially wanting all welfare services to have a four-year wait.

Pauline Hanson has lended her support to Labor saying that migrants should earn for themselves as they have not contributed anything to the country.